A boundary dispute is basically as it sounds – a dispute, or disagreement, between the owners or occupiers of at least two neighbouring properties.

Boundary disputes for both residential and commercial properties, can often be very stressful for the parties involved and can end up costing a lot of money.

If you find yourself in a dispute over a boundary and you’re not sure what to do, then don’t hesitate to contact us at St Helens Law, and we will be happy to help. We will try and avoid litigation at all costs but if it does become necessary, we will handle the process for you, ensuring costs are kept at a minimum.

There are four different kinds of boundary dispute that you could find yourself involved in with neighbouring property owners:

Lot line disputes

A lot line dispute – or the boundary around a property usually defined by a fence or hedge – arises when a property owner may obtain a survey for purposes of re-mortgaging or when carrying out any construction work to their property, such as an extension.

This survey can highlight if the boundary lines of the neighbouring properties are not where they were previously believed to be.

Fence, landscaping and outbuilding disputes

These kinds of disputes can arise when one neighbour believes that next door have a fence, outbuilding or have landscaped their garden across the boundary line. Similar to the above, these disputes have the additional worry of what to do with the improperly located fence, outbuilding etc.

One option is to have the fence or outbuilding removed completely or relocated within their property boundary line. Another option is that they can pay their neighbour for allowing them to keep the fencing etc on their land and the third option is that they purchase the land where the outbuilding etc is located on – usually involving an easement or licence.

This last option is sometimes not one available due to the location of the properties.

Access disputes

Access disputes can occur when there is a need for a property owner to enter or cross their neighbour’s property, such as a countryside property that requires an access road that cuts through another’s land.

To resolve this, you would need to see if an easement or licence already exists that grants the neighbour permission to use their land for access and if not, you may be able to negotiate a mutually-agreeable resolution, but only if you are both amenable to it.

Adverse possession claims

Adverse possession – also known as ‘squatter’s rights’ – claims arise when a person has used someone else’s property for a long period of time without permission of the owner.

Generally, the legal property owner can try and get their property back from the squatter but, in accordance with English common-law tradition, Courts can decide that if a squatter, occupies a piece of property or land without permission and the legal owner doesn’t do anything to try and take it back for a long period of time, then the squatter can legally become the owner.

Dispute resolutions

You can always try and amicably resolve any boundary resolution as the first step, but if you’re struggling to reach an agreement, then don’t hesitate to contact a member of our Property Team on 01744 742360 or email info@sthelenslaw.co.uk.

We will research your case by obtaining the title deeds to your property and ask an RICS Surveyor measure the boundaries in accordance with your deeds. Through agreement or mediation, St Helens Law will initially look to resolve the boundary dispute as early as possible. But if court proceedings are required, we will take you through them step-by-step.

You can have a free discussion with us first, so we can see where you’re up to and advise you on your next steps.